All-GTNS: Avery Travis
MAHARISHI SCHOOL, FAIRFIELD – I would give my education an A-minus. Why not a straight A? My own personal education has been relatively smooth, but I feel that is because I happen to work really well in the college-prep track. This has made my life easier, and will continue to do so as long as education is the driving force in my life, but I know that many others don’t find that school comes naturally to them. I think this is addressed better at Maharishi School than it is elsewhere, but of course there is so much diversity that there’s always more to be done.
I have had so many amazing teachers that I can’t really pick just one for my whole high school career, but right now I think my favorite is Michael Cook, who’s teaching my sustainable living class. Mr. Cook has both theoretical and practical knowledge of the field, since he studied sustainable living in college and worked on community-building projects in Portland, Oregon, for a few years, but I think the reason I – and the rest of my classmates – love him so much is that he fully embraces his own quirkiness and shows that side off to his students. It’s hard not to get excited about the subject when our teacher is so enthusiastic.
Some of my favorite activities I only got involved in because I was required to (Speech in ninth grade, volleyball this year) and so I am glad that those programs were mandatory. Being told to do something sometimes often ruins the experience for people, but for me it has been a chance to stretch my boundaries and then discover that I genuinely enjoyed it, and I think that lesson can be applied to everything that you’re required to do in life: you have to be there, so you might as well make the most of it.
I’ve made a lot of great memories over the years, but the one that comes to me now is a recent one of performing twice at the Speech All-State festival. It’s rare to perform at All-State even once, so to do so twice in the same year was bound to be memorable. And while the performances were incredible in and of themselves, what really stuck in my head was the feeling before we went on, when we were just sitting around as a cast and preparing for the performance ahead. We had been working together for two and a half months, and in that time we really bonded. This was the culmination of those months of hard work, and it was something I will never forget.
I was a very different person my freshmen year. I wasn’t very sure of myself, or at least not enough to put myself out into the world. Now I feel much more comfortable in being who I really am, even though I’m unlike anyone else—or maybe because of it.
As for advice to the freshmen: I’ve heard a lot of people around me doing extra activities because “it will look good for college” and that always makes me a little sad, for a couple of reasons. First of all, if all you care about is a few words on your transcript saying that you did this sport or that service project, you’ll lose sight of the process because all you care about is finishing the job, so you probably won’t enjoy it as much.
There are a lot of people who mean a lot to me, but right now I’m thinking of my two older sisters. Both of them are out of state, so I don’t see them very often, but we talk a lot on Skype and those moments are really precious. They were such an integral part of my growing up, from teaching me to read to walking me to school, and now it’s a bit weird to have them so far away. We’ve had to learn how to translate our sisterhood into something that now exists only metaphysically.